Yes you read that headline correctly. The Atlanta Hawks have lost their talented swingman Josh Childress to the Greek basketball team Olympiakos B.C. Childress agreed to terms with this team after they came to terms that was worth far more than the $2o million the Hawks placed on the table.
Granted this is a shocking outbreak in it's own right, but it forces us to ask the question could this happen again and who could be the next to go over seas in search of better pay?
In the past going over seas to play ball was almost seen as a sign of failure. It meant that you skills just were not good enough to make it in the NBA. However, the world has changed, with the United States failing to win gold in an international competition since 2000 much of the world has caught up in regards to basketball skill. This means the level of competition in these countries are as good as what is seen in the NBA. Now granted I am hard pressed to believe that a LeBron James or a D-Wade is jumping the next plane to Europe. But it could be a very intriguing destination for an above average role player who can't completely get over the hump in the NBA.
Another factor that must be looked at is economics. A mid-level player like Childress will always struggle to get a big contract and with the salary cap in place, it is hard to find extra cash floating around once the big names are signed. However, a player can go to Europe and more importantly get paid in Euros and then convert them against the weak dollar to increase their earnings. $20 million in Euros is worth a lot more than $20 million U.S. dollars at this point. Because of this other mid-level players may want to venture overseas and get more bang for their buck.
At the very least, what Josh Childress did opens up an interesting barrel.